Young adults from five nations on different governments’ Covid-19 responses

Young adults from five different nations have shared their thoughts on lockdown and their governments’ approaches to tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Focusing on Generation Z, creative agency ZAK spoke to five people aged from 18 to 25 from the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Singapore.

– Josh Eyitayo, 25, London

Mr Eyitayo, from Streatham, London, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent speech, in which he relaxed lockdown rules and changed the key message from “stay home” to “stay alert”, was “ridiculous”.

“In terms of waffle, it wasn’t even a sweet type of waffle, it was like the potato waffle… that waffle there was bland,” he said.

“Here I wouldn’t say (lockdown) has been that serious, it’s almost like summer holiday – the lockdown happens when it’s raining.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Josh Eyitayo criticised Boris Johnson’s recent speech (ZAK/PA)</figcaption>
Josh Eyitayo criticised Boris Johnson’s recent speech (ZAK/PA)

“I wouldn’t say there’s complete trust in the Government no – no way – and the person that is delivering the message isn’t someone that seems like he’s sure himself.

“The narrative seems to be that we’re overcoming this… I don’t know, it’s just a second wave (of coronavirus) pending I think.”

– Tak Soropa, 20, Auckland

In March leader Jacinda Ardern brought in some of the strictest restrictions in the world and the country has been largely successful in eliminating the virus, with just 21 reported deaths.

“From the get-go the government’s really been trying to make sure the whole nation’s been onto it,” said the Zimbabwean-born Mr Saropa.

“I think now that we’ve been kind of put with the top countries for fighting Covid-19, people are trying to make sure we can maintain that level of safety.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Tak Soropa thinks Jacinda Ardern is ‘honest’ (ZAK/PA)</figcaption>
Tak Soropa thinks Jacinda Ardern is ‘honest’ (ZAK/PA)

“We like to back ourselves whether it’s in sport or fighting the virus.

“Jacinda Ardern, she’s just done a good job… she was just real clear and honest.”

– Vicky Zhang, 19, Toronto

In Toronto, leadership of the pandemic response is split between the Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and the student is receiving 1,500 Canadian dollars per month from as part of it.

“I’m starting to forget what life was like before quarantine… the situation with the virus is not really getting any better,” said Ms Zhang.

“It’s kind of divided… half the people do trust the government and we have two different governments, so we have like Trudeau and we have Ford and they also have different opinions.”

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Vicky Zhang said the situation is not getting any better (ZAK/PA)</figcaption>
Vicky Zhang said the situation is not getting any better (ZAK/PA)

Sandros Prodanovic, 22, Munich

Germany stopped short of ordering its 80 million population to remain at home, instead opting for strict social distancing measures. Public gatherings were banned, except for families who live together, and restaurants told to close along with other non-essential shops.

The states of Bavaria and Saarland, however, put their residents on lockdown, telling them to stay at home

Mr Prodanovic was let go by the coffee shop where he worked before the quarantine, which he says is fraying — with public transport “completely full”.

“To be honest with you, lockdown doesn’t really exist any more… people are living their day-to-day lives completely normally,” he said.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Sandros Prodanovic was let go by the coffee shop where he worked before the quarantine (ZAK/PA)</figcaption>
Sandros Prodanovic was let go by the coffee shop where he worked before the quarantine (ZAK/PA)

“You don’t need a bar or a restaurant to go drinking – people are just drinking outside. I mean, I’ve been doing it, it’s great.

“Pretty much you’re supposed to have a mask anywhere you go… nobody’s doing that.

“I can’t put 100% trust in the government, I’d say I put around a good 70-80%, but I’ll leave that 20% for a bit of suspicion.”

Sindujah, 18, Singapore

Singapore went into lockdown at the start of April, and while some lockdown measures have been extended to June, home-based businesses, such as hairdressers, have reopened, and some students are set to return to school on May 19.

Student Sindujah, 18, says the streets are very quiet and the city is being very compliant.

They have just received their government-issued facemask in the post — which were first announced by the government at the start of February.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Sindujah said the lockdown has been ‘really long’ (ZAK/PA)</figcaption>
Sindujah said the lockdown has been ‘really long’ (ZAK/PA)

Everyone wears one, even on a short trip to the mailbox in their housing block, with shaming videos quickly going viral of people who don’t.

She said: “It’s been really long. I can even picture when the last time I actually went out was.

“So I think life has gotten very, very quiet and measures are stricter.

“The government also issued out masks to all the residents in Singapore — yeah we do actually have the trust in them.

“We actually look out for the health of each other and we make sure that we listen to the rules.”